I was interested to read comments in the same week from two Scottish personalities about how they have always felt imposter syndrome in the midst of their popularity and success.

Step forward (avoiding the police crime tent) Nicola Sturgeon, and singer-songwriter sensation Lewis Capaldi (avoiding a stream of effing and blinding).

Abdicated Queen Nicola revealed in a podcast (no, madam, nothing to do with peas or dolphins; it's a recording) that even at the height of being First Minister, and she who must be obeyed, she still wondered why a wee Ayrshire lassie should have so much power and influence.

The talented Lewis fae Bathgate, at only 26, has conquered the music world since his worldwide hit 'Someone You Loved' spent seven weeks at Number One in 2018. However, it causes him constant anxiety.

He told The Times: "I feel great at having made a record that I love, but what I don't understand is why so many people come to see me. I'm a huge hypochondriac who suffers from anxiety."

Symptoms of his imposter syndrome is that he has nervous ticks and Tourette's, which causes him to swear a lot, a helluva lot.

Well, here's the big reveal. I'm a kindred spirit. I suffer from yon Imposter Syndrome, which is your inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's efforts or skills.

What's that, sir, you don't think I have any success or skills? Stop it, you'll just make me more anxious.

I think the imposter thing began when, at the age of 22, I was posted from darkest Ardrossan to sit in the editor's chair of this blessed blatt. My only connection to Largs had been as a part-time waiter in Nardini's Cafe in the mid-60s when you could buy a Knickerbocker Glory for about 12 pence. Nowadays you need a mortgage.

When I did weekend radio work as a football broadcaster I put it down to good luck and not my ability to mimic Arthur Montford and Archie Macpherson (no, madam, not comedians, famous football commentators).

Similarly, when I took over as chairman of the Society of Editors in Scotland, I reckoned I was in the right place - or was it the wrong place - at the right or wrong time. 

That position took me to Buckingham Palace where I'm sure The Queen had a quizzical look in her eye as I lined up thinking: "Who invited this ned from the scheme in Stevenston to my royal palace?" 

I still believe my fashion choice of a Black Watch tartan suit helped me get away with it.

To be honest,  my tartan suits - yes, I have two - have helped me get over my imposter syndrome as I popped up as a performer at Burns events around the world. It's astounding how an ability to memorise and, nay, extemporise Tam O' Shanter can be a ticket to ride.

So, like Nicola and Lewis, I have felt like a fraud or a phoney in certain circumstances.

Specialists say there are five types of imposter syndrome: the perfectionist; the natural genius; the rugged individualist; the expert; and the superhero.

You'll have noticed over the years, faithful reader, that I'm no genius nor expert on anything. My wife will tell you I'm the opposite of a perfectionist, and my superhero days ended with my subscription to the Superman comics. So, I reckon I'm a rugged individualist, a soloist who never runs with the herd, and, yes, my own opinion on everything.

What's more, with imposter syndrome you often feel out of place. For instance, I play walking football.

And, I think my fellow players have found me out.

However, the specialists also say it is better to suffer from the syndrome than the opposite which is called the Dunning Kruger Effect. That's when you are overconfident, overbearing, and overestimate your abilities, knowledge and achievements.

Heh, wait a minute; maybe Nicola didn't have Imposter Syndrome after all.


Thought for the Week: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes.



IT has come to my attention that the furore over the proposed barge to house 500 illegal immigrants off the coast of Dorset may lead to a change of location.

Considering that our north coast has the deepest water in Europe, it might not be beyond belief that the barge could be moved safely to Hunterston.

There is no doubt that something has to be done to prevent tens of thousands of immigrants arriving by small boats every year.

 It is a dangerous situation highlighted by the fact that no fewer than 19 terrorists have been identified among the constant flow of illegal immigrants.

Very few commentators and politicians seem to have pointed out that in countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and Spain, and other European nations, you would not be allowed to land and claim asylum, never mind being paid for in a hotel and be given benefits at an estimated £6m per day.

Australia has a mandatory policy that you cannot just arrive by boat and be allowed to stay. Illegal immigrants are detained and processed offshore if you don't have a valid visa.

Even across the water in Spain you would be deported if you attempted to spend more than 90 days there.

I am sure the comrades of Fairlie Community Council would welcome the immigrants who could, say, be given discount entry to Kelburn Country Park and maybe be given accommodation at the Castle.

They could, perhaps, get jobs at the subsea cable factory.  Mind you, some Fairlieites would prefer immigrants to industrial development on their doorstep.